Pessimism... Good or Bad?


I once read in a local Catholic magazine that one of the common beliefs held by New Agers is that humanity is on a road to perfection and that God is merely a relic of the Middle Ages. It focuses on the supposed progress of humanity seen in things such as advancement in technology and stuff like that. I also noticed that this is just not the beliefs of New Agers but a lot of other secular, anti-religious folks. It’s all about how humanity is so good and that God is unnecessary. :rolleyes: It aims to make people feel good about themselves to the point that they’re all filled with pride and feel like they don’t owe God anything (or worse, God owes them :mad: )

Now the thing is, I’m a very pessimistic person. So pessimistic in fact that I can point out the wrongs in practically anything (myself included) with hardly any effort. To top it off, my pessimism mainly comes from the fact that I have very little belief in myself.

Many people (both religious and not) have told me that my pessimism is unhealthy. And I admit, my cynical attitude may have just made me more depressed about my shortcomings but when I started reading about these feel good/anti-God mentalities, I began to wonder.

Would there really be any point to ‘feel good’ about yourself when this is what all it leads to nowadays?

Another thing, I’ve always found myself arguing with the proponents of these dangerous ‘feel-good’ philosophies by actually letting out my pessimism to full max. I point out the many reasons why humanity is NOT so great among other criticisms of the human race that even some Catholics here find harsh.

Would this be a sign that my pessimism may not be a total curse or am I just finding another excuse to stay like this?

I could really use some insight on this one. This is something I’ve always been wondering about for a long time. My cynicism has been treated by others as something I should really do something about but I just can’t understand why it feels so… natural to me. :blush:


There’s a difference between healthy skepticism and unhealthy pessimism. For example, I’m incredibly skeptical that the current President of the United States is going to do this country any good…but that doesn’t prevent me from experiencing the joy of life.

Pessimism robs you of the joy God wants you have because he sent His only son to save us all. It’s not a “feel good” philosophy but rather an encounter with a divine person…Jesus Christ.

From a psychological point of view, pessimism can be sign of hidden anger. I’m not saying you need to see a shrink, but maybe continue your introspection on what is really driving you to deny yourself the joys of life and choose, even prefer, the darker thoughts.


One of my Pilipino priest-chaplains serving in the U.S.Navy Chaplins Corps (fyi: USNCC serves both the US Navy and the US Marines) was assigned to my Marine Unit. He would always (and I really mean “always”) tell me two things about my questions/concerns…very similar to yours:(1) Good News: you are seeking…asking…because God’s graces and the Holy Spirit are prompting you…and thank God you are responding with your free will…to follow the Spirit’s inspirations.

(2) Bad News: you are confusing…pessimism with pride…and letting your pride lead you to judge events, others and well as yourself…in a way that belongs to God alone. Jesus commands…shouts…to us DO NOT JUDGE!..not even yourself. You have no right to be pessimistic about yourself or others/events…Divine Providence (both God’s designed will and his permissive will–letting us use our free will and then making straight lines out of our crooked lines…sins) are always in control…

Matthew 7 (New International Version)
**Judging Others **

1"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." (Mt 7:1-5)

1 Corinthians 4 (New International Version)

1So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. 2Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God. (1Cor 4: 1-5)

I Hope this helps you in some small way…Pax Christi

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